08/31/2005 11:00PM

Conservative plan for R Loyal Man


MIAMI - After R Loyal Man won his debut impressively and finished second in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor Stakes in his only other start, trainer Tim Ritvo could have gotten ambitious with R Loyal Man and perhaps set his sights on some of the bigger 2-year-old races this summer at Saratoga.

Instead, Ritvo has opted to go the conservative route in hopes of saving R Loyal Man for longer and more important opportunities later this year and into the colt's 3-year-old campaign. As a result, R Loyal Man figures to be the public's choice when he stretches out around two turns for the first time in Saturday's $50,000 Seacliff Stakes.

A one-mile race, the Seacliff is one of four stakes on the undercard of Calder's 14-race Juvenile Showcase program, along with the $50,000 Lindsay Frolic Stakes, $50,000 Catcharinsingstar Stakes, and the Fasig Tipton Turf Dash. The Catcharisingstar and Turf Dash will both be decided on the grass, weather permitting.

, a son of More than Ready, showed big potential right off the bat when he drew off to a 6 1/2-length maiden win over a sloppy track here June 11. That performance, along with the fact R Loyal Man, a Kentucky-bred, is not eligible for the Stallion Stakes program, prompted Ritvo to take his budding star to Churchill Downs for the Bashford Manor. After a slow start, R Loyal Man just missed upsetting the heavily favored Deputy G.

"I backed off and freshened him a little after the race in Kentucky," Ritvo said. "Our main objective is the Foolish Pleasure Stakes here later this month, and we're using this one as a prep for that race. More distance is what he wants, and eventually we'll look to put him on the grass, because most of the More than Readys seem to be running well on turf."

Considering that R Loyal Man has been idle several months and is pointing for bigger and better things down the road, he could prove a vulnerable favorite in the Seacliff. Among the main upset threats are the much-improved , who is cross-entered in the Affirmed Stakes, and Weekend Weather.

, who is also entered in Saturday's Susan's Girl Stakes, will be the horse to catch if she stays in the Lindsay Frolic. A Sea Trippi was a five-length winner of her only start and should benefit from her rail draw with the short run to the clubhouse turn for the one-mile Lindsay Frolic.

Bettarun Fast, unbeaten in two starts and an impressive winner of her turf debut Aug. 14, will be heavily favored to capture the five-furlong Catcharisingstar. She may receive her top challenges from Southern Fortune, Time Banshee, and the speedy Flawless Gem.

Mr. Silver was a gate-to-wire 3 3/4-length winner of his turf debut, when he paid $16.40 to win, and figures to be a much shorter price in the five-furlong Turf Dash. Hollywood Left and the undefeated Forest Danz, who is extremely well-bred for the surface, could prove dangerous if they handle the grass.